“Robert Wiersema’s Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen gives us one man’s Boss, served up the way it should be – obsessive, penetrating and rapturous. He is no critic, but an articulate every fan who taps the Springsteen zeitgeist as it radiates from the music into his own life.
-Joel Selvin, Senior Pop Music Correspondent, San Francisco Chronicle
A frank, funny, and inventive blend of biography, music criticism, and memoir told in thirteen tracks.
As he enters his sixties, Bruce Springsteen remains a paragon of all that is cool in the world of rock. He’s a genuine voice of the people, the bastard child of Woody Guthrie and James Brown, and an elder statesman who has inspired generations of bands. He’s won twenty Grammy Awards, an Oscar, two Golden Globes, and is a member of two Halls of Fame.
There are dozens of books about Springsteen. What’s left to say? Nothing objective, perhaps. But when it comes to music, objectivity is highly overrated. Robert Wiersema has been a Springsteen fan since he was a teenager, following tours to see multiple shows in a row, watching set lists develop in real time via the Internet, ordering bootlegs from shady vendors in Italy. His attachment is deeper than fandom, though: he’s grown up with Springsteen’s songs as the soundtrack to his life, beginning with his youth in rural British Columbia and continuing on through dreams of escape, falling in love, and becoming a father.
Walk Like a Man is the liner notes for a mix tape, a blend of biography, music criticism, and memoir. Like the best mix tapes, it balances joy and sorrow, laughter seasoning the dark-night-of-the-soul questions that haunt us all. Wiersema’s book is the story of a man becoming a man (despite getting a little lost along the way), and of Springsteen’s songs and life that have accompanied him on his journey.
“It is the author’s talent that he makes us look at a major international artist anew and through different eyes.”
–Victoria Times Colonist
“Walk Like a Man beautifully and accurately describes the way that rock and roll and fandom can touch and change our lives.”
-Craig Finn, The Hold Steady
“Walk like a Man is about growing up, getting old, and being lucky enough to have a treasured soundtrack to make sense of it all.”
-Ray Robertson, author of David and Moody Food
“[H]e is an accomplished and likeable storyteller. He is quick with a self-deprecating quip… Walk Like a Man is a quick read, something that can be digested between dinnertime and midnight snack. And if its goal is to bring the reader back to Springsteen (it made me drag out and listen to Live 1975-1985, for just the second time) and also to pick up on Wiersema’s other writing, then it succeeds on both counts.”
–The Globe and Mail
Greystone Books, September 2011
Nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award